Tag Archives: Conflict

Pope wishes “path of peace” in conflicts

In his ‘Urbi et Orbi speech Pope Francis addressed a number of issues of conflicts, and protracted conflicts in various places across the world.

For the Israelies and Palestinians, the Pope wishes resumption of the dialogue and path to peace to end the 70-year conflict rending “the land chosen by the Lord to show his face of love”.

For Syrians he wishes that they can “find fraternity after long years of war” and that through international cooperation those who have fled may return home.

For Yemen, the hope that the truce will hold and bring relief to her people and children “exhausted by war and famine”.

For Africa, that the “Holy Child, the King of Peace” might “silence the clash of arms” allowing a “new dawn of fraternity to rise over the entire continent”.

For the Korean peninsula he prayed for the consolidation of the “bonds of fraternity” set in motion this year.

For Venezuelans the Pope hopes they might “recover social harmony” so as to “work fraternally” toward the country’s development.

For Ukrainians, he hopes “the Newborn Lord” might “bring relief” and “a lasting peace” which is possible only through respect for the “rights of every nation”.

For Nicaraguans he prayed that they might “see themselves once more as brothers and sisters” through reconciliation and building Nicaragua’s future together.

Pope Francis also mentioned those whose “freedom and identity” are compromised through modern forms of colonialisation, those suffering from hunger, lack of education and health care.

For those celebrating Christmas in hostile situations, Pontifex prayed that all minorities might live peacefully through respect for the right of religious freedom.

Urbi et Orbi  the Papal address to the of Rome and to the World denotes a speech and blessing to the city of Rome and to the entire world by the Pontiff on certain solemn occasions. At present according to the Pew Research there are more than two billion Christians in the world due to the population growth. Among them 1,3 million Catholics, with 40% of them residing in Latin America, where the Argentinian Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergogliocomes from.

EU action against sexual violence in conflicts

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, Federica Mogherini, High Representative/Vice-President, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, and Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, made the following statement:

Sexual violence against women and girls, boys and men is a despicable crime, and even more so when it occurs in situations of conflict, or as a tactic of war. It is a grave violation of human rights and international humanitarian law. For this reason, the European Union always has and will continue to condemn and fight sexual violence in conflict with the strongest commitment” – the text of the joint  statement says.

“All survivors must be guaranteed access to comprehensive psychological and health care services, as well as justice and reparations. We expect all states to conduct effective investigation of those crimes, to bring perpetrators to justice and to ensure accountability for past crimes, also to prevent future atrocities” – the EU statement continues.

“Children born following wartime rape and their mothers need to be protected and granted rights, as they often face exclusion and stigmatisation from their own communities and families. We should never forget those victims of war and stand in full support with them.

“The EU has been working hand in hand with its Member States, international partners, and civil society to enshrine the respect of fundamental human rights in peacebuilding efforts worldwide.

“We cannot be passive witness of crimes having such deep and long-term consequences on human beings, communities and entire societies. We will continue investing in raising awareness, while building more equal, educated and respectful societies within and outside our borders. This is and will stay at the core of the EU institutions and with partners around the world.

“We are fully determined to continue taking concrete actions to prevent and eliminate sexual and gender-based violence, in times of peace or conflict” – the statement concludes.

In a global approach, EU policy tools aim at eliminating all forms of conflict-related sexual violence, as part of the broader women, peace and security agenda and as a key aspect of conflict prevention, sustaining peace and sustainable development. This work is guided by the key objectives stipulated in the EU’s Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy, the new European Consensus on Development and the EU Gender Action Plan II.

  • The joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls has been given an initial EU investment of €500 million.
  • In 2017, almost €22 million were allocated in humanitarian aid for the prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence worldwide.
  • The EU currently holds the leadership of the ‘Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies’, a global initiative of more than 70 stakeholders to prevent and mitigate gender-based violence, from the earliest onset of a crisis. Also in the areas where our CSDP missions and operations are operating, the EU is supporting 43 multi-year projects, for an amount of €43 million, and two relevant multi-country programmes of €8.5 million, to prevent and address sexual violence. The EU also recently reinforced its zero-tolerance policy for abuses perpetrated by its own staff deployed in missions abroad. As an international framework, the EU signed in 2017 the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, as the first pan-European legal instrument and the most far-reaching international treaty to prevent and combat violence against women including sexual violence. The Convention explicitly recognises such abuses as human rights violations. (Image above: Nadia Murad a victim to sexual violence and EU Sakharov Prize winner, a human rights ,campaigner).

NATO-Russia Council resumed dialogue

“The NATO Russia Council had an open exchange on several topics, including the situation in and around Ukraine, issues related to military activities, transparency and risk reduction, as well as asymmetric techniques as aspects of doctrine and strategy. NATO and Russia both briefed on major upcoming exercises” – Oana Lungescu, NATO spokesperson tweeted a short compte-rendu.

“NATO’s approach to Russia is consistent. Practical cooperation was suspended in 2014 due to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. At the same time, channels for political dialogue are open and the NATO-Russia Council is an important forum. NATO and Russia also maintain open military-to-military lines of communication. NATO Allies welcomed the April meeting in Baku between the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Scaparrotti, and the Russian Chief of the General Staff, General Gerasimov. The dialogue between NATO and Russia contributes to more predictable relations and enhanced mutual security” Lungescu continued.

Russian Representation was also very laconic, and published the following comment on the Facebook page:

“…The members of the NRC presented their assessments of the factors affecting the situation in the field of military security in the Euro-Atlantic region, discussed the ways to reduce current tensions and prevent dangerous incidents.

In order to increase the predictability of military activities in accordance with established practice, the sides exchanged briefings on the upcoming significant exercises of the armed forces of NATO members states and Russia this year”.

At present, as the site of Russian Representation at NATO confirms, the Ambassador’s job is “vacant” (pictured in a grey box). The Mission is lead by high-ranked diplomat Yuri Andreevich Gorlach.

Russians at NATO

Previous NATO-Russia Council on the level of Ambassadors took place on 26th October 2017, with the situation in Afghanistan, as the central theme, the other issues discussed were military training exercises, and the conflict in Ukraine.

There were no press-conferences, or other exchanges with press foreseen to comment on the outcome of the meeting.

 

Russian diplomats celebrate National Day in Jerusalem

According to Russian diplomatic sources, the Embassy of Russian Federation in Israel is hosting its annual National Day (12 June) reception in Jerusalem, in a gesture of recognition of West Jerusalem as capital of State of Israel not only de jure in statements, but also de facto.

Russia’s incoming Ambassador H.E. Anatoly Viktorov has invited guests to the reception (reportedly celebrated on 14th of June) at Sergei’s Courtyard.

Russian compound church

Sergei’s Courtyard constructed in 1889, but sometimes still referred to as New Courtyard, a part of a historic complex in the Jerusalem neighborhood  known as the Russian Compound (pictured), which Israeli authorities handed to Russia a decade ago in a goodwill gesture.

Russian compound Jerusalem

At present Russia remains committed to the decisions of the United Nations on the status of Jerusalem. In April 2017, Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA) issued a statement on the “urgent need” for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, underlining its firm commitment to the decisions of the United Nations on the principles of settlement, including the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state.

However “at the same time, we consider it necessary to declare that in this context we consider West Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel” – the statement of Russian MFA concluded.

On December 6, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, reaffirmed Russia‘s position to support the immediate resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on “all controversial issues, including the status of Jerusalem.”

In June 2017, the Israeli authorities suggested to Russian government to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but in response the diplomats said that Russia has no intention to do so until Israel and Palestine have settled their bilateral relations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russia Today reporter killed in Syria

A reporter working with RT Arabic, Khaled Alkhateb (25), has been killed in shelling from Islamic State (IS) in the eastern suburb of Homs, Syria.

Alkhateb was covering the Syrian Army’s operations against IS terrorists.

The slain reporter and a Syrian Army official, who has not been identified yet were hit by a rocket in an attack by the Islamic State militants near a village called Bghailiyah, in Homs province, according to the head of RT Arabic’s office in Damascus, Abdelhameed Tawfiq.

Khaled Alkhateb was just 25 years old and had recently joined Russia Today television chain to cover Syrian conflict.

Russia blames Kiev a sabotage of Minsk peace deal

Russian Federation sees a growing number of attempts by Kiev to torpedo the Minsk peace agreements, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said during the Fort Ross Dialogue forum on Tuesday, on 30th of May, 2017.

“We see a growing and increasing sabotage by the Ukrainian political leadership in regard to implementing the Minsk agreements,” Ryabkov said. “We cannot ensure the efficiency of this process for another party.”

According to the diplomat, the February 2015 Minsk agreements “have become a sacred utterance that our colleagues, namely participants of the G7, repeat at the level of political instincts and reflexes.”

“If someone wanted to achieve the Minsk accords’ implementation, they should have sent signals to the authorities in Kiev,” he stressed. “They (the G7 members) must redirect all these new ‘sanction mantras’ to themselves, as this has no significance to us and is utterly misdirected.”

 

 

Conflict-famine link

The United Nations has declared famine in parts of South Sudan and warned that more than 20 million people risk dying from starvation because of drought and conflict in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and northeast Nigeria, while more than 100 million face acute malnutrition worldwide.

Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations’ top humanitarian official underlined the link between conflict and famine. “Those (hunger crises) all share this terrible and devastating commonality: violence and conflict which have contributed to or directly caused famine risk conditions,” he said.

A decade ago most international aid organizations focused almost 80% of their resources on natural disaster threats and the rest on “manmade humanitarian risks”, but it is now the other way around, he said.